WHO Director-General congratulates Togo on becoming first country to eliminate four neglected tropical diseases

August 26, 2022 - Reading Time: 2 minutes - By The Vellum Team

WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, today extended his congratulations to the Republic of Togo, as it was confirmed that the West African country had become the first country to eliminate four devastating neglected tropical diseases.

The ceremony took place during the 72nd Session of the World Health Organization Regional Committee for Africa, in Lomé, and was attended by Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbé.

In addition to WHO’s acknowledgment, President Gnassingbé also received an outstanding achievement award on behalf of his country’s extended health workforce. The award was presented by WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, and Ms. Thoko Elphick-Pooley, Director, Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases.

In congratulating Togo, Dr Tedros noted that dracunculiasis, lymphatic filariasis, human African trypanosomiasis and trachoma had long been a terrible burden for the Togolese population and that their elimination constituted “a gift not only for the people of Togo today, but for generations to come”.

The elimination of human African trypanosomiasis, in 2020, coincided with the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, making Togo’s elimination of the deadly disease, also referred to as sleeping sickness, even more noteworthy.

Devastating burdens of disease

Dracunculiasis, also known as Guinea worm disease, is a parasitic infection transmitted via contaminated drinking water. It causes disability for the three-to-ten-week period of illness and can also lead to death.

Lymphatic filariasis is also caused by parasitic worms and often leads to elephantiasis. This causes swelling in the arms, legs, breasts, or genitals and, as well as being painful, may also lead to disfigurement and extreme social and economic stigma.

Human African trypanosomiasis has two principal forms, the gambiense and the rhodesiense, and is generally transmitted through contact with infected tsetse flies. If the infection is not treated promptly, it too is deadly.

Trachoma is a bacterial disease that particularly affects those with inadequate access to of water, sanitation and hygiene. It causes severe eye pain and often leads to blindness.

Disease of extreme poverty

All four of the diseases eliminated by the Republic of Togo are diseases of extreme poverty and affect populations already blighted by severe economic hardship. They are one of a group of some twenty diseases commonly referred to as neglected tropical diseases (NTD).

Many of those other NTDs still pose considerable health challenges to populations the world over, particularly in the poorest countries.

In celebrating Togo’s fine achievement and congratulating the country’s health workforce and leadership, Dr Tedros emphasized the need to pursue the elimination and eradication of all NTDs in all countries.

Spread the love

    Who is Who

  • WHO IS WHO- New Kemsa Board Chairperson Irungu Nyakera

    In a bid to rectify the deep-rooted corruption and mismanagement of medical supplies within the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa), President William Ruto appointed a new board chairperson, Mr Irungu Nyakera. With a track record of academic excellence and a diverse professional background, Mr Nyakera

    Spread the love
    More ..
  • Safaricom confirms Fawzia Ali as Chief Consumer Business Officer

    Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa has appointed Fawzia Ali as Chief Consumer Business Officer effective 15th March 2023. Ms Ali has held this role in an acting capacity since July 2022 and has provided exemplary leadership and inspiration to the team during this period. In a

    Spread the love
    More ..

    The Kenya Revenue Authority on Thursday, 23rd February 2023 communicated the new management team after the resignation of Githii Mburu. In addition to his departure, other Commissioners were replaced. These include; Lilian Nyawanda (Commissioner, of Customs and Border Control), Terra Saidimu (Commissioner, Intelligence & Strategic

    Spread the love
    More ..